Gov. Healey announced today that that Massachusetts health-care providers have started stockpiling mifepristone in advance of potential judicial action to ban its sale, despite 20 years of use showing its safer than many other drugs, including Viagra, but nobody is talking about denying men a right to erections.
UMass Amherst alone bought 15,000 doses of the drug last week - enough to meet roughly a year's worth of demand in Massachusetts, Healey said, adding the state is also setting aside $1 million to help reimburse private health-care providers who lay in stocks of the drug.
Medication abortion is safe, effective and legal. Mifepristone has been used safely for more than 20 years and is the gold standard. Here in Massachusetts, we are not going to let one extremist judge in Texas turn back the clock on this proven medication and restrict access to care in our state.
A federal judge in Texas last week decided an 1873 law used to ban the interstate transportation of both abortifacients and birth-control was still the law of the land and so ordered the FDA to withdraw its approval, on top of his conclusion that "fetus" is not actually a word that real scientists should be using and so any studies on the drug's safety were just wrong. Hours later, another federal judge, in Washington state, ruled that the drug is, in fact, as safe as researchers say it is and ordered the FDA to keep allowing its sale. This sets up a potential showdown before the Supreme Court, possibly just a few months after it overturned Roe v. Wade.
One issue right now is whether drug makers can continue to ship the drug to pharmacies not cowed by Republican attorneys general while the cases wend their way through the federal judicial appeals process.
Healey and Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell vowed to do whatever it takes to ensure the drug remains available here. In addition to buying supplies now, Healey issued an executive order declaring Massachusetts residents can continue to get the drug:
This will ensure that providers, including pharmacists, can continue to stock and dispense mifepristone and will protect providers and patients from criminal and civil liability for accessing this essential care. The Executive Order also instructs the Department of Public Health and Division of Insurance to issue guidance to help implement the order and requires the Department of Public Health to provide support to public universities and colleges to expedite development and implementation of their medication abortion readiness plans